ANN ARBOR, Michigan — — Seton Hall passed one of the greatest victories in school history and coach Kevin Willard simply shrugged because he wasn’t surprised by the result.
Jared Rhoden scored 16 points and helped Tuesday night’s Pirates rally defeat #4 Michigan 67-65.
It was Seton Hall’s first road win over a top-five non-conference team, and the first win against a top-five team since Temple’s elimination in the second round of the 2000 NCAA tournament.
“This is where we are as a program,” said Willard, who is in his 12th season with the Pirates. “I expected that we would win this match. This was not a shock to me.
“We can play against anyone in the country and we’ve done that for the past seven years.”
Willard led Seton Hall to four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from 2016 to 2019 before the pandemic ended a potentially promising streak two years ago and a COVID-19 outbreak hampered his team last season.
The Wolverines (2-1) had a chance to extend the game with 0.8 seconds left, but Terrance Williams missed the first of two free throws.
Unlike the 1989 National Championship, in which Rumeal Robinson made free throws to seal a Michigan win over Seton Hall, the corn and blue didn’t follow the same script.
“I’ve seen the game five times,” Willard said. “It was a phenomenal game. It was like, a very, very good basketball game.”
The Pirates (3-0) trailed by 11 points early in the second half and took the lead for the first time since late in the first half with 1:15 to go.
“Many mistakes were made defensively during 40 minutes of play,” said Michigan coach Juwan Howard.
Bryce Aiken completed two free throws with 32 seconds left to give Seton Hall a 65-64 lead that it held after Michigan’s Eli Brooks missed a short shot on ensuing possession.
Myles Cale then made the second of two free throws to give the visitors a two-run lead, which turned out to be the difference.
“We made (free throws) and they missed a hard one,” Willard said.
Aiken, who was 4 out of 6 on the line, and Detroit’s Tray Jackson each had 13 points for the Pirates.
Michigan Hunter Dickinson had 18 points and nine rebounds, Brooks scored 17, and DeVante Jones added 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Brooks lamented what the Wolverines did offensively late in the game.
“Just taking care of the ball and making sure we get a shot to the floor every time, that’s crucial,” he said.
The Wolverines were 3 out of 15 on 3-pointers and only made 42% of their shots overall.
“If you keep someone on 68 points in a game, you’re going to win that game a lot,” Brooks said. “We just didn’t appreciate basketball well.”
Seton Hall: After beating Fairleigh Dickinson and Yale, a team with five graduate players on its roster showed it has the experience and talent to beat one of the best teams in the country.
Michigan: A team that has spoken openly about winning the national championship was humiliated and lost a game at home after a double-digit lead after appearing to leave early in the second half.
A few hours before the game, Michigan announced that Howard had agreed to a five-year extension, keeping him under contract until the 2025-26 season.
Michigan will disappear from its lofty rankings and the Pirates will likely earn a spot in the AP Top 25 next week.
Seton Hall will face No. 19 Ohio State in Monday night’s Rocket Mortgage Fort Myers Tip-Off. Two days later, the winner will play against number 24 Florida or California for the title.
Michigan will play against UNLV in Las Vegas on Friday-evening as part of the Roman Main Event, which will benefit the Coaches vs. Cancer program, and the winner will face Arizona or Wichita State on Sunday night for the championship.
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